Santiponce is a town of 8,500 people (2015) in Andalucia, near Seville. Visitors are drawn by the ruins of Italica, one of the most important cities of Roman Iberia, and for its monastery, which has some important works of religious art.
The town's agriculture is focused on maize (corn), sunflowers, oranges and table olives.
Because it is on a little-travelled route, it has been a settlement place since prehistoric times. Remains of Iberian tribes and Turdetans, have been found. The Roman general Scipio the African, named after the victory against the Carthaginians, decided to found a city in the valley of the Betis river, so that his troops could settle and rest. The city was baptized as Italica, which was named after the peninsula where Rome is located. At an early date, Rome granted citizenship to the inhabitants of this city. In the times of Augustus, the city was renamed Colonia Aelia Augusta Itálica. From here the emperors Trajan, Hadrian and, probably, also Theodosius I originated. The city was prosperous until the 3rd century AD, but its decline began in the 4th century, when the Roman Empire fell due to Germanic invasions and political crises.
In Visigothic times, Archbishop San Leandro built his episcopal schools in its ruins. In the Reconquest, the Mozarabs built a hermitage on the site dedicated to the Archbishop San Isidoro. The saint remained buried there until his transfer to León.
In 1270, the Monastery of San Isidoro del Campo was built, which exerted a dominion over the town. The town, sometimes called Seville "la Vieja", was then in an area known as Isla de Hierro, the site of the Seville Olympic Stadium in the north of Isla de la Cartuja. However, this area was flooded in 1603 and the survivors went to reside in the monastery, which was then inhabited by the Hieronymite monks. They gave an area with ruins of Italica near the monastery for the construction of the new town, which was at a higher altitude. However, a good part of the ancient ruins of Italica were preserved, including the theatre and the amphitheatre.
You can also catch taxis from Seville, however the driver will probably charge you an exorbitant fee for crossing the Seville city limits.
- 1 Itálica. Tu-Su 09:00-15:00. A partially excavated Roman city. Most of it is lost under the village of Santiponce, but several streets and the footings of houses and public buildings with mosaic tiled floors can be seen. The highlight is one of the largest known Roman amphitheatres with seats for 25,000. Italica receives fewer visitors than many European ruins of similar archaeological value, and is well worth the quick trip from Seville. This was one of the main cities of Roman Hispania and Trajan, Adriano and, perhaps, Teodosio also originated from it. Archaeological work on the city is ongoing. Adult €1.50, free for EU citizens.
- 2 Monastery of San Isidoro del Campo. It was built in 1301 by Alonso Pérez de Guzmán. It was the result of a concession from Ferdinand IV of Castile in 1298 and the purpose was for the remains of Alonso to rest there. It has several works of art of some importance by Juan Martínez Montañés. Montañés made a lavish altarpiece. In addition, in the Cloister of the Evangelists there are four interesting 15th century wall paintings. There are also other notable pieces, such as a Christ by Pedro Roldán, 17th-century stained glass, relics and remains of Saint Eutiquio,. The monastery housed one of the best libraries in Spain.
- The Municipal Museum of Santiponce Fernando Marmolejo is next to the Roman theatre. Archaeological and artistic pieces linked to the history of the municipality are exhibited.
- Aljarafe Way of the Cross: It is presided over by the Jesús Nazareno de la Hermandad del Rosario (17th century) of the municipality. It is celebrated on the first Saturday of Lent.
- Holy Week: The brotherhood of Nuestro Padre Jesús Nazareno, Nuestra Señora del Rosario Crowned and Divina Pastora de las Almas has its roots in the 16th century. The Jesus Nazareno is possibly the work of José de Arce and is from the 17th century. The carving of the Virgen del Rosario is anonymous, although it has been attributed to Juan de Mesa y Velasco, and is made in the 17th century. This Virgin was canonically crowned in 2008. This Virgin has a glorious character, but to make her penitential, at the time of Lent the Child Jesus is temporarily removed from her arms.
- Pilgrimage of San Isidoro del Campo: It has been celebrated since 2003. It starts with several carts from the parish church of San Isidoro del Campo and takes a tour that has its equator in a festive stop by the river.
- Cruces de Mayo: An ancient festival, characterized by flowery crosses, which some municipalities in the country conserve.
- Romería del Rocío: Some poncinos joined nearby brotherhoods to make pilgrimage to Rocío. The Santiponce brotherhood carries a simpecado embroidered by Heirs of Esperanza Elena Caro and has a miniature of the Virgen del Rocío by Fernando Marmolejo Camargo.
- Fair: It was born in the Middle Ages with the help of the Hieronymite monks. In October.
A good deal is El Ventorrillo Canario, just in front of the gates of the Italica premises. Try roasted meat and stews.